Marine fisheries represent a vital component of the world’s economy, environment, marine ecosystem and livelihoods to tens of millions of people. However, in recent years, overwhelming evidence shows that these valuable marine assets are in danger of depletion due to over-exploitation and illegal fishing activities. It is estimated that the world’s oceans would only reach a healthy condition by 2050 if fisheries reform around the world were sustained moderately, otherwise, the collapse of the world’s ecosystems would be unavoidable.
Recognizing the possible crisis of fishery resources, the international community has been trying to address the problem in a variety of ways aiming at combating or deterring the expansion of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (iuu) activities. This paper reviews the development of international fisheries law, especially recent instruments and the latest practices, including the Port State Measures Agreement, Voluntary Guidelines on Flag State Performance, Voluntary Guidelines for Catch Documentation Schemes, and European Union iuu Regulation. However, it seems that the development of international fisheries law has been surrounded by the issue of “combating iuu” for the past several decades. The author concludes that the incentives for illegal fishing must be understood and then eliminated.